The wheel of life, or samsara, is an important symbol in Buddhism, because it represents the cycle of birth, life and death. According to Buddhism, the human soul never dies. Instead, it is reborn or reincarnated in a new form.
The wheel of life, or samsara, is an important symbol in Buddhism, because it represents the cycle of birth, life and death. According to Buddhism, the human soul never dies. Instead, it is reborn or reincarnated in a new form. This new form may be a human, animal or supernatural being. Many Buddhists believe this endless cycle of life and death, called reincarnation, is a domain of suffering and reflects the impermanence of existence. The ultimate goal is to escape from that suffering.
Buddhists also believe that good karma (a tendency toward positive thoughts and actions) may result in rebirth in a higher form. The consequences of bad karma (negative deeds) may lead to rebirth in a lower form. Buddhists believe that only through good karma and by overcoming greed, hatred and ignorance can they free themselves from the perpetual cycle of death and rebirth. At that point, they will become truly enlightened and reach the state of nirvana, which literally means "to extinguish."
In My Reincarnation, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu (the father, also known as Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche — rinpoche, "precious one" in Tibetan, is a title of respect reserved for Tibetan Buddhist masters) is recognized as the reincarnation of several renowned masters, including the Dharmaraja of Bhutan and Adzom Drukpa. Khyentse Yeshe (the son, originally known as Yeshi) is recognized as the reincarnation of his father's uncle, a famous Dzogchen master who died after the Chinese invaded Tibet.
Photo caption: Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in his favorite pastime, swimming in the water Credit: Zohe Film Productions, Inc.
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